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Saturday, 30 September 2006

Haveil Havalim 88 is up

Haveil Havalim 88 is up, it took a lot of juggling over at AbbaGav, he's had a few big changes recently which I'm sure you will have noticed.

[Don't mention the word 'blogger' he might get a little angry!]

Anyway its here, and a job well done.

Click here: Haveil Havalim 88


Friday, 29 September 2006

Wellington, Florida -DCF Worker's Anti Semitic Tirade

Whoops, Seems some one forgot to hang up the phone!

Wellington, FL - A state child abuse investigator spat out a string of expletives about a Jewish family without realizing the family's voice mail was recording.

[Click Mr Bagel to reaad more!]

Daniella Arnold, a Department of Children and Families employee since 1989, was following up with a Wellington family after the father of two young children was charged with domestic battery. She left her cellphone number on the couple's home voice mail, and then seemed to think she had hung up. But the voice mail was still recording when Arnold said, "F——— Jew. That's what she is. She's a g—d—- Jew. Got to go to the g—d—- temple to see her g—d—- kid."

The father played Arnold's message for a DCF attorney and Arnold resigned after she was confronted with the department's concerns.
The children's mother who grew up in a heavily Jewish neighborhood in New York, said she had never met Arnold in person. She said Arnold may have been frustrated because they were having trouble finding a time when the investigator could interview the mother at home, she also said that she had never encountered such anti-Semitism and was shocked by the voice message.

The couple said DCF opened its case two weeks ago when the father was charged with domestic battery. The arrest affidavit says the father put his hands around his wife's neck in front of their son.
Arnold wanted to see the children at home, but the mother was busy at work and asked if Arnold could visit them at school instead, and Arnold agreed to see him there.

Earlier this week, the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office decided not to file charges in the misdemeanor domestic violence case. Arnold called the mother on her cellphone to say she still needed to finish her child safety investigation. She asked when she could visit the home.
The mother said she was driving home from work and needed to check her schedule. She asked Arnold to leave the information on her home phone. Arnold seemed irritable, saying she had her own children to take care of and a long commute home to Port St. Lucie.

A few minutes later, the mother arrived home and discovered Arnold's unintended message. It is scary, she said, that the insults came from a state employee with the power to take children from their parents. "I'd hate to think that this is the sort of person who would be making decisions in a child custody case," she said.

VOS IZ NEIAS: Florida - DCF worker leaves anti Semitic message

VOS IZ NEIAS Thanks for Hattip!
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Thursday, 28 September 2006

Hate the way Blogger dumps your entire post when it fails to save or post???

The concept of saving a post locally, before uploading seems to have skipped the thoughts of our mighty 'blogger' creators.

[Click Mr Bagel to be saved from the 'lost my entire post!' blues]

I hate that you lose your entire post.

I hate that you're lmited to a small number of photos that are uploaded with blogger with great difficulty.

I hate that you're reduced to really boring 'same factory' pages.

The solution? LIVEWRITER

Microsoft Live Writer [in beta] which has/will soon have some really 'excellent plug ins' and using a photo hosting service such as photobucket, file den, picasso, etc.

Right: Lifewriter Onscreen is one such Plug in

Check it out, you'll be thankful.

Drop by and say 'You're sooo groovy' after you've installed it.

Oh and the best part? It seems so obvious- you can write offline, preview offline and then later connect to upload and post.
It requires 'NET Framework' to be already installed. You would have been offered to install this important 'add on' earlier if you choose to ignore, nows the time to install it.
You can use your windows updating features to install 'Net Framework', if you don't already have it.
[If you're not sure download it from the Windows Live writer link and read the instructions]
It was designed for MS's own blog net work but, it works perfectly well with blogger, (and most other blog hosters) , ok not perfectly well, but a lot better than.....


[lol on the groovy bit]

Windows Live Writer official page[has links to download]
Download it for windows now!
[via ZDnet][requires 'NET Framework' ]


Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Was the 2004 prisoner release the motivation for the 2006 kidnappings?

The recent kidnappings by Hamas and Hezbollah of Israeli soldiers as barter for jailed terrorists were not the first. In 2004, Israel released more than 1,000 jailed terrorists in exchange for Israelis kidnapped by Hezbollah.

In 2004 the Palestinians expressed support for the Hezbollah and saw the kidnapping as a positive precedent. They responded with statements that kidnappings leading to release of prisoners would be their modus operandi for the release of more prisoners in the future.

[See statements below by clicking on Mr Bagel.]

Given these statements and their effect on the Palestinian population,it is certainly plausible that the recent kidnappings that led to the war were a direct result of Israel's actions in 2004, which led Palestinians to conclude that Israel would continue to free terrorists to gain the release of kidnapped hostages.

The overwhelming Palestinian support for the current kidnappings indicates how deeply entrenched among Palestinians is the assumption that Israel will acquiesce to the prisoner exchange demands.

The three Israeli soldiers kidnapped in 2000
Sgt. Adi Avitan, Staff Sgt. Benyamin Avraham and Staff Sgt. Omar Sawaid
were the subjects of many Protests and appeals to the U.N.

The following quotes from the PMW archives are Palestinian responses immediately after the exchange of terrorists for kidnapped Israelis in January 2004, and subsequent responses throughout the year:

"Fatah's military branch organized a civilian and military procession yesterday through the streets of Rafah. This event was held in appreciation and gratitude for the efforts Hizbullah made for the release of Arab and Palestinian prisoners from Israel jails as part of the prisoner exchange deal with Israel. In a public statement by the Abu Al-Rish Brigades, Fatah's military wing emphasized the need to follow Hezbollah's example in order to achieve the release of all prisoners and detainees."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, January 29, 2004]

"PM Ahmad Qurei: The detainees issue is at the top of the [Palestinian] government's list of priorities. Their release is a condition to any possible deal. Protests in all areas. "The Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades" called on its members to kidnap Israelis in order to pressure Israel on the prisoners' issue ..."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, August 16, 2004]

"The Islamic Jihad movement pointed out - in a public statement that was published on its behalf and was distributed during the procession - that it has the right to do any action for the prisoners' release.... Mushir Al-Masri, Hamas spokesman, said that 'Hamas' threats to kidnap soldiers still exist, and the movement will do everything in its power for the sake of the prisoners' release ...'"
[Al-Ayyam, August 17, 2004]

"The Hamas movement organized a mass rally yesterday in the refugee camp in Jabaliya ... in a sign of solidarity with the prisoners and the detainees ... Many of the family members of the prisoners and the Shahids [Martyrs] participated in the rally ... A senior member in the Hamas movement, Dr. Nizar Rayan ... called on all resistance factions to act for the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers in order to exchange them with our brave prisoners ..."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, August 21, 2004]

"The Al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad's military wing, and the Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades, which belong to the Fatah movement, threatened to kidnap Israeli settlers and soldiers for the release of the prisoners in Israeli detention centers... The Al Quds Brigades and the Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades said during a joint press conference in the tent of a sit-down strike in the square of the unknown soldier: '... we have decided to increase our efforts to kidnap Zionist soldiers and settlers... we will not back down and we will not change our minds about that purpose, in no way, and we will do everything in our power in order to achieve it.' They mentioned several previous kidnapping attempts within the last three months, which have failed ...They added... that directions were given... to all military chains to begin operations for kidnapping Israeli settlers and soldiers to save the prisoners."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, August 27,2004]

BB: There's no doubt in my mind the disproportionate exchange of prisoners further encouraged the Palestinians and Hezbollah. It was a tragic mistake in negotiations and we shall bear its brunt for many years to come.

We're not dealing with people who have any respect for decency, the Bald Face lies told to Eliyahu Asheri's parents should be a testament to this. Each day we allow the negotiations to be prolonged each day our position weakens.

The cease fire was brought about by a commitment to release the 3 I.D.F. soldiers, not a commitment to negotiate for them first. Israel should stop being held to ransom. Israel should stop being dictated to and start dictating the immediate release of the Prisoners.

The court case of the Hamas criminals is an absolute farce, it should stop until the 3 soldiers are released.

Demand there Kidnapped I.D.F. soldiers release or negate the cease fire.

Sign the petition to free the soldiers click the link or the picture at the top

Sign the Petition click this link

Palestinian Media Watch:
Was 2004 prisoner release the motivation for 2006 kidnappings?
[by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook]

References for further reading:

Israel MFA: Israelis Held by the Hizbullah - Oct 2000-Jan 2004


Sign of the times?

A Sign of the times?


Image is a Photo composite by BagelBlogger


Tuesday, 26 September 2006

Another House of God: black Israelites find a home in Queens

Reading from a Torah Scroll

On the ninth of Av, synagogues around the world remember the destruction of the First and Second Temples, as well as a litany of other Jewish catastrophes, from the expulsion of Spanish Jews in 1492 to the start of Nazi death camp deportations in 1942. At Beth Elohim in Queens, N.Y., the congregation adds one more date to the list: August 8, 1444.

On that day, Portuguese traders embarked from Africa for the New World with a shipload of human cargo. The event, which tradition marks as the beginning of more than 400 years of slavery, has singular significance at this synagogue, where everyone - the rabbis, the Hebrew-school teachers, the music director, on down to the last member - is African-American.


Way out in the St. Albans neighborhood - just take the subway to the end of the line, switch to a bus, and 20 minutes later, you’re there - the Beth Elohim Hebrew Congregation and Cultural Center occupies a storefront on Linden Blvd. It's nondescript except for the large Stars of David on the awning.

Rabbi Shlomo Ben Levy, dressed in a crisp, dark navy suit, red tie, and velour kipah, welcomes my friend and me at the door. "Shalom, Shalom," he says, in what I will soon think of as the community's signature greeting.

Inside, the long, narrow space resembles a modest synagogue sanctuary you could see anywhere. The mahogany ark, carved chairs and pulpit that dominate one end of the space were acquired from a synagogue in southeast Queens which was being converted to a church.

Biblical art and a backdrop of the Judean countryside decorate the walls. "It reminds me of my trip to Israel, right after the Six-Day War," remarks Lady Ann Dunbar, a synagogue member and a social worker with a master's from Yeshiva University.

About 40 people gather for services. While many of the men wear jeans and kipot, most of the women are in colorful African robes and headdresses.

Tonight's program, "The 16th Annual Tribute to the Ancestors Home Service and Lecture," is led by Assistant Rabbi Eliyahu (full name: Eliyahu et Hammurabbi Ras Yehudah), who makes a dramatic entrance in white Ethiopian robes and a goat hair hat. On other days, I am told, he may appear in a sharp modern suit or a red velvet garment festooned with Stars of David.

"Shalom, Shalom!" he chirps as others come up to greet him. "Erev tov!"
"The Torah gives us a way to commemorate slavery in Egypt, but we needed to create a ceremony to commemorate our slavery in this country," Ben Levy explains.

Beth Elohim is part of a loosely affiliated movement of Hebrew congregations in Brooklyn, Harlem, Philadelphia, Chicago, and elsewhere.

The website blackjews.org — administered by Ben Levy — claims there are approximately 40,000 African-American Jews in the United States. These are not the Ethiopian Jews one encounters in Israel, but Americans who have embraced this blend of Judaism primarily in the 20th century.

The black Jews observe most holidays, the rite of circumcision, and the laws of kashrut. God is invoked as Hashem; men and women sit separately on Shabbat; and when the evening begins with a rendition of "Hinei Ma Tov," the tune is the same one I learned in Sunday school and summer camp.

Unlike some more radical black sects that claim to be the only true Jews, these Black Jews - or Israelites or Hebrews, as they prefer to be called - see all Jews as co-religionists, despite differences in race and tradition.

In an essay on the website, Ben Levy admits that most of his flock is not Jewish according to halachah, but points out that fewer than 10% of the 5.3 million white Jews in America observe halachah themselves.

There is debate within this community whether conversion is necessary, with many claiming the doctrine of teshuvah (repentence) allows them to return to what they see as their original tradition.

An Image called Bridges which featureds on a Essay
on African American and Jewish connections

Some, like Ben Levy, were born into the community - his late father, Levi Ben Levy, founded this synagogue in 1983 - while others have come from all walks of life.

Raphael Ben Dan, who serves as chief musician and has released a CD of original Hebrew songs, was born a Baptist in Ohio and converted first to Islam before finding his place among the Israelites.

A young man name Memelik, a student rabbi and guest speaker from Beth Shalom Congregation in Brooklyn, was born in London to Trinidadian parents. Another guest from Beth Shalom, Rabbi Yeshurun Ben Israel, was a city transit worker before attending the Israelite Academy, the Queens-based institute that ordains all rabbis in the community.

After a standing moment of silence to remember both the destruction of Solomon's Temple and the atrocity of African slavery, Ben Israel chants the "El Molay Rachamim." He begins in Hebrew but continues in English, the first and likely only time I will hear it this way.

And rather than the six million who died in the Holocaust, he invokes "the 100 million who passed through the Middle Passage" - the long, middle leg of the Europe-to-Africa-to-America slave trade route - an untold number of whom "may have been Israelites."

Dunbar then presents her lecture on the "psychosocial effects of slavery." She opens by pointing out that the first African slaves arrived in New Amsterdam in 1626, just two decades before the first Jewish refugees from Brazil. "And so the marriage begins," she says.

After Memelik reads aloud a few haunting facts and accounts of the African slave trade, the congregation rises as Ben Israel reads loudly from Deuteronomy, Chapter 28. To everyone in the room, it is clear that the Torah predicted the Middle Passage, or at least warned against it. "He will put a yoke of iron upon thy neck …" he intones and points to the poster pinned to the podium: a 19th-century daguerreotype of a slave on an auction block, his hands and legs chained, a large iron yoke around his neck.

The ceremony itself is uplifting, a symbolic display not unlike a Passover table. There are four colored candles, each representing an attribute of nature, and a seder plate-inspired selection of seven foods: bread, rice, fish, corn, boiled egg, parsley, and water, signifying everything from sustenance to the bitterness of 400 years of slavery.

"But 400 years can’t take away 40,000 years," Eliyahu exclaims. The point, he says, is to move forward from an enslaved mentality, to cast off that "chain on the brain." Judaism, he declares, is the answer.

"The Torah has the key to unraveling these problems," he exclaims, eyes wide. “And we even heard it in this week’s haftorah, remember? 'Comfort ye, comfort ye, give comfort to my people … proclaim that their service is at an end!' Isaiah said that. It’s all about moving on!" The woman next to me nods vigorously as she finds the passage in her Chumash (Five Books of Moses).

And so what began as a solemn evening culminates in something of a celebration — or rather, a kiddush, as Ben Levy leads everyone in hamotzi before volunteers pass out prepared meals consisting of all the ingredients mentioned in the ceremony.

"Remember, Torah is what it's about, and you all are the custodians of the Torah," Eliyahu tells me as we depart. "You kept it for 3,000 years. I tell my people to think about that. If it weren't for you, we never would have been able to discover it."

[A very insightful article written by Victor Wishna]


Cleveland Jewish News: Another house of God: black Israelites find a home in Queens
BY: VICTOR WISHNA, Freelance Writer

Black and Jewish: blackandjewish.com


Muslims scream they want the Pope on a rope!

This years most politically incorrect present may just be giving them what they want!

They want the Pope on a Rope?

Here it is.
Now there's no excuse for not cleaning up their act.

[END] Bagelblogger Always Fresh!
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Let them without sin cast the first Aspersion: George Allen and those Jewish 'rumors'

I'm confused. I'm also fairly ignorant of some of the issues and their complexity in regards to this issue. Where I come from we use white pillow cases for covering pillows.

If we're from across the river, well thats where we're from. If its got crocodiles then we're not neighbours if it hasn't got crocs then we are. [only kidding, I'm from Australia]

I've read a little of the context of the civil war, its combatants and the issues that were fought over long ago.

I'm familar with the term Democrat and Republican.

Now I have to admit I've read a certain well known 'Southern' blog from a character who seems to have the depth of a Colonel on a Southern Fried Chicken box.

I was taken aback by the 'values' he and his readers seem to share. Well I wasn't taken back, I was well and truly shocked.

Theres a rather big reaction happening over Sen George Allen.

It seems that the American public has found out he has 'Jewish' roots. It seems they have found out, not long after the Senator has.

Now the thing where I'm confused is, is the interviewer Peggy Fox racist? The political opponent Jim Webb racist? , George Allen racist? , the audience racists? The Public racist?
I'm confused, Here's the video.

[To see the video click Mr Bagel]

What other bloggers make of the whole affair?
Now there seems to be more opinions on this than bloggers on the web.

I'm going to show just a snippet of some of those opinions.


HUGH HEWITT [A Blog of Townhall.com]


George Allen and Jim Webb had another debate yesterday. Probably to the relief of many of you, I did not get to see it. But from the clip I did see, and the clip that everyone will see, Allen walked away from this fray the big winner. After running a sub-par campaign and his dreadful appearance on Sunday's "Meet the Press," Allen caught a huge break, a break that will likely turn the momentum of the race in his direction.

One of the panelists, a woman named Peggy Fox, asked Allen, "It has been reported your grandfather Felix, whom you were given your middle name for, was Jewish. Could you please tell us whether your forebears include Jews and, if so, at which point Jewish identity might have ended?"

The crowd booed, and rightly so. Allen responded with angry indignation, again rightly so. And, I must say, he looked good doing so. The problem with a politician as programmed as George Allen is he often appears phony. This question showed the real man, and it was the best I've seen him look during the campaign.

A few quick points of personal analysis. As a Jew, I found Fox's question profoundly offensive. Trust me, the wounded minority card is not one that I play with much frequency. But the attempt to "tar" Allen as a Jew in a southern state was at the very least disturbing, and I actually consider it sickening. Furthermore, I think asking the question was a hanging offense professionally, and I hope whoever employs Peggy Fox has seen enough of her judgment to deeply ponder severing their relationship with her.

Fox's inquiry had no place in a political debate. How could this question have spurred an exchange? Was Webb supposed to counter Allen's answer by saying, "Yes, you are a Jew!"

Which brings us to Webb and his missed opportunity. Webb should have jumped on the questioner with the same vigor that Allen did. (If he did, none of the reports I've seen have reflected such.) His failure to do so highlights the lack of political instincts that mark him as the neophyte in this race. It also suggests he wasn't repulsed by the question. That, too, is disturbing.

The additional fact that his campaign's official press release about the debate doesn't even mention the one part of the debate that everyone will be talking about suggests a maladroit tone-deafness that John Kerry would admire. Given that the liberal blogs' talking points are that 1) Allen's rage was "bizarre" ; and 2) Allen's failure to embrace his putative Jewish roots is baffling, if the Webb campaign fails to act quickly it will become enmeshed in and associated with this ugliness.

If you're reading, Mudcat, trust me: You don't want that. [Dean Barnet]


Andrew Sullivan: The Daily Dish [TIME]

The South and The Jews

19 Sep 2006 02:53 pm

Here's an interesting remark on Hugh Hewitt's blog:

As a Jew, I found Fox's question [to George Allen] profoundly offensive. Trust me, the wounded minority card is not one that I play with much frequency. But the attempt to "tar" Allen as a Jew in a southern state was at the very least disturbing, and I actually consider it sickening.

The premise of this argument is that many Southern voters are anti-Semitic. Is that Hugh Hewitt's belief, as well as his colleague, Dean Barnett's? (Hat tip: Mike.) Here's the video, where Allen regards asking about his Jewish inheritance is a way to cast "aspersions" on him.


Booker Rising: Booker Rising: News Site for Black Moderates and Black Conservatives

Jewish Aspersions

William Weston comments on Sen. George Allen's (R-Va.) recoiled response to a reporter's question about his alleged Jewish roots, where Sen. Allen directed the reporter from "making aspersions".The moderate Democratic blogger writes:: "How should we read this? We now know that Allen's mother is indeed Jewish ethnically, though she converted to Anglicanism and raised her son an Episcopalian. Her father, Felix Lumbroso, was imprisoned by the Nazis in Tunisia because he was Jewish and had opposed them. We also know that Allen had only found out about his Jewish roots a month before this public question. And his mother had begged him not to tell, because she had kept it from the rest of the family. Still, a month is time enough to get used to the idea, and to have an answer ready for the inevitable reporter's questions. When asked if he had Jewish roots, George Allen took this question as an aspersion. Now, I am about as Jewish as George Allen is – ethnically but not religiously, from several wonderfully intermarried lines. Like Allen, I carry a middle name from a pretty-Jewish grandfather – Joseph, in my case. My eldest carries my grandmother's maiden name, Blum, as her middle name to honor her beloved ancestor. My daughter is a Christian, an ordinary meat-and-potatoes Presbyterian. But she will Never Forget. We honor our Jewish heritage, as we do the rest of the family lines. I don't think calling out Jewish roots is 'casting aspersions.' George Allen does. In that moment, like the macaca moment, he really did reveal his true identity."


Majikthise: Majikthise : George Allen, self-hating Jew

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post reports on the latest bizarre twist in the Virginia senate race, George Allen's public meltdown when asked about his Jewish heritage

At a debate in Tysons Corner yesterday between Republican Allen and Democrat Webb, WUSA-TV's Peggy Fox asked Allen, the tobacco-chewing, cowboy-boot-wearing son of a pro football coach, if his Tunisian-born mother has Jewish blood.

"It has been reported," said Fox, that "your grandfather Felix, whom you were given your middle name for, was Jewish. Could you please tell us whether your forebears include Jews and, if so, at which point Jewish identity might have ended?"

Allen recoiled as if he had been struck. His supporters in the audience booed and hissed. "To be getting into what religion my mother is, I don't think is relevant," Allen said, furiously. "Why is that relevant -- my religion, Jim's religion or the religious beliefs of anyone out there?"

"Honesty, that's all," questioner Fox answered, looking a bit frightened.

"Oh, that's just all? That's just all," the senator mocked, pressing his attack. He directed Fox to "ask questions about issues that really matter to people here in Virginia" and refrain from "making aspersions."

Aspersions? Since when is Jewish heritage an aspersion?

The senator was raised as a Christian and self-identifies as Presbyterian. However, according to Milbank's article, Allen's mother Etty comes from a Sephardic Jewish family. If both Etty's parents were born Jewish, then Allen is Jewish in the eyes of rabbinic law. Allen's grandfather belonged to a prominent Jewish family and was imprisoned by the Nazis for being a resistance fighter.

Allen is awfully touchy about his mother's ethnicity. He has previously denied that his mother is Jewish, but now he acknowledges his mother's Jewish heritage.

Why the defensiveness? It's as if he thinks being Jewish is a very bad thing.

Of course, Allen wouldn't be the first Christian politician in America to have Jewish forbearers. Can you imagine John Kerry or Madeline Albright screaming at a reporter who asked questions about their Jewish heritage? [Posted by Lindsay Beyerstein]


So whose the boggey man? Please help me make sense of this all.

To me it seems....

They're all racists?

BagelBlogger Thanks for your comments!
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Monday, 25 September 2006

The Year in Review: Focus on youth as US jews rally for Israel


From JPost:

PHILADELPHIA (JTA) - During Bill Clinton's successful run for the White House in 1992, campaign strategist James Carville famously impressed on campaign staffers that, when it comes to reaching American voters, "It's the economy, stupid."

Even in a year when a Muslim man angry at Israel went on a shooting rampage at the Seattle Jewish federation, killing one person and injuring five, 5766 may well be remembered as the year when American Jews looked into the crystal ball and discovered that, "It's the youth, stupid."

With leaders of US Jewry increasingly concerned about continuity and watching fretfully as many younger Jews opt out of traditional forms of affiliation, each month seemed to bring with it a new study of 18-25 year-old Jews - offering insights into their likes and dislikes; where they're doing their Judaism and spots from which they're shying away; and what turns them on, as well as what turns them off.

There was Brandeis University's study of Jewish college students, which found that, while proud of their heritage, these young Jews were basically unaffiliated, had relatively weak ties to Israel and Jewish federations and were attracted more to Jewish culture than religion.

And there was the study by Reboot, a nonprofit that promotes creative Jewish initiatives, that found college-age Jews, also proud of their heritage, were avoiding institutional affiliations and were particularly interested in Jewish culture.

Then there were studies by sociologist Steven Cohen and by Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, that found, well, pretty much the same thing as the others. As study after study emerged, observers started to see a pattern.

That many younger Jews in America are engaging differently than their forebears, and expressing their Jewish identities in different ways, should come as no surprise. Indeed, extrapolating from a Feb. 27 piece by Jane Kramer in The New Yorker, this may simply reflect the nature of democracies.

"Democracies preclude contending absolutisms and the dicta of fixed identities," Kramer writes. "They have to do with identity in flux, with culture, and cultures, constantly transforming, molting into something new - something surprising and different and open-ended and free." Still, with intermarriage rampant, synagogue membership among young Jews on the decline and a general sense that younger Jews are less connected to Judaism, Jewish communal leaders are on the lookout for ways to get the younger generation to connect and to engage in a conversation about Jewish identity, community and meaning.

But given what the recent slew of studies tells us about younger Jews, how should this be accomplished? Over the past year, Jewish professionals and lay people increasingly have been asking this question and debating possible answers.

Should these groups try to meet the next generation where it's at, promoting initiatives that cater specifically to a younger audience? Or should traditional Jewish organizations, from synagogues to federations, work to convince the youth that these institutions still have what to offer? Maybe some combination of the two? Or something else entirely? If you ask some of the young people themselves - and, increasingly, some of their elders - they say that the way to their hearts and minds and pocketbooks is through artistic and cultural exchange: Jewish music, books, movies and art.

"In 2006 there have been a slew of studies that have pretty much come up with the same answer. Maybe 2007 will be a year when we stop investing in the studies and start to invest in the leaders and projects that actually are making meaning," said Roger Bennett, senior vice president at the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies. "There is no silver bullet. There are a range of remarkable projects that are out there making meaning for young Jews in different ways."

To be sure, recent developments have given young Jews plenty of outlets for the Jewish cultural impulse, and seem to demonstrate that there's a large market for these cultural efforts.

Matisyahu, has sold more than half a million albums

Matisyahu, a Hassidic reggae singer, has sold more than 500,000 albums. Heeb, a Jewish magazine aimed at hip young Jews, has been the subject of much chatter and numerous articles in the mainstream media. And Guilt & Pleasure - "A magazine for Jews and the people who love them"- has been selling out at news stands and bookstores across the country.

This Moth's Issue of Heeb, hamming it up for the younger generation
and visiting once taboo subjects.

Times, in other words, are flush if you're a young, culturally minded Jew. But the explosion in material led some observers this year to ask whether the arts should be viewed as a gateway to further Jewish involvement or are valuable as a destination in and of themselves.

The distinction probably doesn't matter to many of those surveyed in the studies. However, the answer has practical implications when it comes to deciding which initiatives Jewish organizations and philanthropists should fund.

Another study of younger Jews, this one by the American Jewish Committee, suggested that Orthodoxy will become a larger and more influential force in coming decades. The survey, which looked at the 1.5 million US Jews between the ages of 18-39, found that Orthodox Jews comprise some 11 percent of all US Jews and 16 percent of 18-29 year-olds.

Among even younger Jews, the percentage of Orthodox is even higher, those behind the report speculated. Further, the survey found, Orthodox Jews marry at a younger age, have more children and are more Jewishly engaged than their non-Orthodox counterparts.

The same study found that the Holocaust is proving more important than Israel in positively affecting Jewish identity among many young Jews.

Still, as tensions flared along the Gaza-Israel border and Israel's northen border erupted into war over the summer, American Jews mobilized quickly and decisively to aid the Jewish state. Jewish leaders met publicly and privately with world leaders and diplomats, urging them to condemn Hizbullah attacks and stressing the complicity of both Iran and Syria in the northern war.

Jewish groups, meanwhile, raised large sums of money to help Israeli causes, from shoring up dwindling blood supplies to helping children living in the line of fire escape to safer ground.

Middle Eastern politics intruded squarely onto the American Jewish scene in Seattle, where a Muslim man ostensibly angered by the Israel-Hizbullah war killed one woman and injured five others in a shooting rampage at the city's Jewish federation.

In the wake of the attack, a security alert was issued to Jewish institutions around the country, instructing them to establish contact with local law enforcement officials and be vigilant about monitoring buildings and pedestrian traffic.

Even before the war against Hizbullah, however, Israel was at the center of American Jewry's agenda. An effort in Congress to cut off assistance to the Palestinian Authority after Hamas' landslide electoral victory in January met unexpected resistance from a coalition of dovish Jewish groups.

AIPAC strongly favored the bill, but Americans for Peace Now, the Israel Policy Forum and Brit Tzedek v'Shalom objected particularly to the US House of Representatives version because it would cut off the Palestinian Authority regardless of whether it is led by Hamas.

The groups said the measure would suffocate any attempts by Palestinian moderates to push back at Hamas. Democratic lawmakers said Jewish calls opposing the legislation outnumbered those in support by 3-1.

In the end, both bills passed overwhelmingly, though the House version recorded 37 votes against - far more than the usual dozen diehard Israel critics. The Senate and the House have yet to reconcile substantial differences between their versions of the bill, casting doubt on whether it will land on President Bush's desk this congressional session.


J Post: 5766 in the US: Focus on youth as Jews rally for Israel

(JTA Bureau Chief Ron Kampeas in Washington and Correspondent Sue Fishkoff in California contributed to this report.)


Sunday, 24 September 2006

5 Historical Videos Showing Jewish life in 5 Different European Cities in 1939

I came across a series of 5 Films that show Jewish centres in Europe just before the outbreak of WWII and the Shoah (holocaust).

I felt others would like to see them.

I think these 10 minute films showing life just before the outbreak of World War II are quite exceptional, please do leave comments.

The five films are:

[1.] Jewish Life in Warsaw 1939

Jewish Life in Warsaw 1939
[9:21] Minutes

[2.] Jewish Life in Bialystok 1939
Jewish Life in Bialystok 1939
[9:56] Minutes

[3.] Jewish Life Krakow 1939
Jewish Life Krakow 1939
[9:57] Minutes

[4.] Jewish Life Lwow [Lemberg] 1939
Jewish Life Lwow [Lemberg] 1939
[10:03] Minutes

[5.] Jewish Life in Vilna 1939
Jewish Life in Vilna 1939
[9:28] Minutes

Due to the size of all five films, I've 'back date posted' them so they don't stop my page from loading, 5 videos preloading at once isn't enjoyable.

Each film on its own doesn't take too long to load.

Don't miss out seeing these films.




the Divine Victory? [ii]

The Muslims say the sons of Pigs and Monkeys.

Well, I have to admit it seems Nasrallah has won. In the really ugly stakes.

This little man must be the first son of both a Pig and a Monkey

Ok, we're supposed to believe this is a divine victory. While it might be a divine victory I'm absolutely positive it wasn't a victory for Hezbollah.

If this was your divine victory Nasrallah then I wish you many more.

Its funny, you think standing on the piles of rubble 20 metres high waving their Hezbollah Flags, the view might be a bit better. look around people, its called devastation.

Or is Nasrallah calling it Landscaping??

Its all right Nasrallah gave us $12,000 of counterfeit money so we will live in counterfeit houses and be counterfeit happy in our counterfeit victory.

[END ]


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the Divine Victory [iii]

I had to chuckle. Its not that I like laughing at peoples discomfort, but the three bodyguards that surrounded Nasrallah whilst he made his speech seemed to continuously be talking to them selves. Obviously they were rigged up with earpieces and microphones. I've never seen three guys so jumpy. I wonder if that rather large piece of glass in front of Nasrallah might be bullet proof?

Here's a hypothetical for you, you sell Life Insurance, Nasrallah rings and wants some.

Do you give him:

[a] A 1 Week policy

[b] A 1 month policy

[c] A 1 year policy

[d] None of the Above

[e] Tell him he has to return the signed policy by hand personally

[END ]


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the Divine Victory?

Ok, we're supposed to believe this is a divine victory. While it might be a divine victory I'm absolutely positive it wasn't a victory for Hezbollah.

You have to seriously question the gullibility of his followers. Follow me, I'll lead you to war, everything around you including all Hezbollah infrastructure will be utterly destroyed. Your sons and husband will die, your future will be ruined, I'll then declare a divine victory??

Hello any one actually looking around? Those mountains that serve as a majestic backdrop at the rally, there not mountains they're your former Hezbollah buildings? Why do fruit cakes standing on top of twenty metre high piles of rubble waving they're Hezbollah flags, make it a Hezbollah victory? I don't think Hezbollah was handing out $US 12,000, I think they've been handing out some of that Lebanese wacko tobacco.

[END ]


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the Divine Victory [v]

Divine Victory?

"Believe Me, When we Kidnapped the Israeli Soldiers We had no Idea it would lead to this Historic Victory!"

I wonder how a mass of people could be so deluded? I seriously think that there are some not very happy Lebanese, who think Nasrallah is full of Sh*t.

How could you actually think you've won a victory? You're on your knees begging for the attacks to stop, you pick yourself up and dust yourself off and declare victory?

That some people could be so deluded is very worrysome.

[END ]

A Great cartoon I came across, location unknown.
(If anyone knows please let me know)

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